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The perfect Nazi : uncovering my grandfather's secret past
Martin Davidson
Adult Nonfiction DD247.L248 D39 2011

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From Publishers' Weekly:

If it were not for BBC editor Davidson's grandfather's position as an officer in the Nazis' SD "security police," this would be only one more guilty memoir by the descendant of a mid-level Nazi. Davidson, however, succeeds in creating an overview not only of his maternal grandfather's life and career but of his own search for truth. As family rumors and occasional comments implied, Bruno Langbehn was more than a retired dentist. An early Nazi Party member , and "disdain[ing] political anonymity," Langbehn joined the SS in 1937. Selected for Heydrich's elite SD, he specialized in investigating German "reactionaries" who opposed the Nazi regime. Later, Langbehn and his immediate family were transferred to Prague, where he participated in organizing "one of Himmler's most desperate ideas": the "Werewolf" resistance force to wage guerrilla warfare against the victorious Allies after the war's end. Needless to say, "Werewolf" came to nothing. Langbehn escaped Allied justice and returned to Berlin, where he died in 1992. Above all, Langbehn emerges from this compelling account as an unrepentant fanatic whose grandson, Davidson, is understandably saddened by this family connection. While the book could have benefited from more details on some events of the war, this remains a disturbing account of the legacy of Nazism. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

How would you confront the idea that your grandfather may have been one of the most despised people of the 20th century? Davidson (commissioning editor, BBC; A Visitor's Guide to a History of Britain) here writes of his maternal grandfather, Bruno Langbehn, a member of the SS in Nazi Germany. The mystery surrounding Langbehn's World War II service was compounded by his unrepentant attitude and noticeable pride in his past. After his grandfather's death in 1992, Davidson began exploring this past and found a story "typical" of the millions of German men who became Nazis-why they were attracted to Nazism, how their career paths evolved, and what was expected of them. Some of the strongest parts of the book are Davidson's observations and questions about whether Langbehn deserves to be considered equal to the Eichmanns and Himmlers of the regime. VERDICT Academic and public libraries will find this work a good addition to the Nazi genre, particularly as it explores the motives of the perpetrator rather than the plight of the victims. Davidson not only tells the tale of his grandfather's experience, but also provides insight into how and why young Germans could choose the Nazi way of life.-Maria Bagshaw, Ecolab, St. Paul (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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